the first time

the first time i noticed
i wasn’t from here
was before heaven
ever hurt anyone,
and the sun’s
music didn’t
have to break
through dark land
just to get attention

i understood filtered
fingers plucked
our hearts up one
ray at a time
through native
free-range animal clouds
who liked to travel
with us on the way back
from Milford lake

i felt God,
or an angel,
or something I didn’t know
pulling my head
out of the Bronco window
in the heartland of it all
while Cheryl sprinkled
two drops of vanilla
into our Pepsi cans,


for Real Toads


Let Earth

Gaze at the Heavens
Let us gaze at her too
Let lights inspire
A freedom song
A night of voice in tune

Let us lay down
Our troubled sighs
Be silent in the snow
Listen to the snowflakes talk
Their moonshine faces glow

[for Real Toads
my version of “Joy
to the World”]

So Then

old things are passed away
the upper & lower springs
we are second lives &Heaven

excuse me for asking,
but do you think
we’ll pine for the perishable?

for little boxes
like my brother used to make,
for dusty feet and a water baptismal,
for raw meat smoking &dry grass burning,
for the great mountain &green noble fir?

am i wrong in thinking so elemental,
as first lives slip away spontaneously
like the snow of early spring

so then,
nobody asks for strawberry jelly?
and nobody remembers war?

for Real Toads


in heaven’s
waiting room there’s silver

chairs with spinning wheels
footrests, armrests
and a music hour

one piano
with foot pedals and ivory keys
hard maple and sweet songs

lame man moves
his lips in a dream~
the calf strap binds


Mirror: A Ligo Haibun Challenge

Hope in Anguish

Hope in Anguish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is as if I am forever looking through a mirror, dimly lit, seeing only half of my reflection.  The ‘now’ is the ‘not yet.’  The ‘not yet,’ lives in the now. How else can I describe this life of muted colors, smells, textures, and sounds I put up with? I know there is more than even the deafening ocean breaking its sticks over stones. I am hopeful I will not remain dry. I am hopeful that someday I will not languish.  I will not anguish over the browns which settle into champagne flutes.  I imagine there will be citrine yellow, optimal pinks, violet lavender eyes; imperial swimming pool skies. There is more on the other side of this mirror. There is a who.

look in the mirror and
long for more than broken glass~
loiter here beyond

Brave Women

Tell me… One more time
How Grandma roller skated–
Hell-bent for Heaven.

If any image should be lasting, it’s the one of Grandma strapping on roller skates, throwing caution to the wind and her fragile bones to a higher power. When I think about it, that’s the best story I could pass on to my daughters. Be funny. Be coy. Be smart. Be trouble. Be happy.

But above all, be brave.

Don’t be stupid, though. My mom and I did affix a brown velour couch pillow to Grandma’s tush using my dad’s belt. We held her hand, ensuring she accomplished her lifelong wish to skate. The brevity of Grandma’s time on wheels was matched with the levity of her legacy. We laughed and tried to steady ourselves. I held and pressed the button down on the Polaroid camera. As long as I live, I hope to never forget that shining moment in time, in the backyard of my 4th Street home with grandma, mom and me.

Be brave. I now tell the same woman who cinched up Grandma’s belt.

Be brave. I tell myself. I’ve been spared another day, because mom still knows my name.

I’ll remind her tomorrow about the time we helped Grandma to skate. I’ll cinch my belt and skate around the catch in my throat when I call. I’ll remind her that it’s Mother’s Day and I’ll say “I love you, Mom.” We’ll both be brave.